New Jersey could become the next major battleground over mandated percentages of recycled content in rigid plastic containers, possibly as soon as this spring.
The state Senate Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee approved a measure Jan. 22 - already approved by the N.J. House - that would mandate the use of 25 percent recycled content in many rigid plastic containers, including pails and bottles used by the soap, detergent and paint industries.
New Jersey would be the second state with that type of mandate for rigid plastic containers. Wisconsin requires 10 percent recycled content. California and Oregon laws also have stipulations, but only if recycling levels fall below state-mandated levels.
Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Council of New York, decried the proposal.
``There is no environmental benefit to this bill and there are not enough suppliers [of recycled materials]. It is totally undoable,'' he said.
The Chemistry Council is leading a coalition of companies and associations that are opposed to the measure. Other coalition members include the American Chemistry Council in Arlington, Va., the Soap and Detergent Association, Procter & Gamble Co. and the Retail Merchants Association.
Under New Jersey procedures, the proposal now can go either to another Senate committee or straight to the floor for a vote. ``Nothing is imminent right now,'' said Bozarth. ``I don't believe the bill has been fast-tracked.''
Among the containers affected by the bill would be those for soap and detergents, auto-care products, home-care products and paints, and most plastic pails. The plan would exempt containers for personal-care products, medicines, cosmetics, food and beverages and those that contain toxic substances or are used in the shipment of hazardous materials.